“Hey, guess what?”

Do you ever have the urge to pick up the phone , and say “Hey, guess what ?” only to realize that conversation isn`t going to happen?

Over seven years, and I still think about doing it sometimes. After all of those collected years of talking each day and then no more . No more of those talks or those days of sharing and laughing. The urge to do it is hard to let go …some days….

Seasons constantly happening. Excitement ,disappointments, hopes, dreams, big things, insignificant things, all reminders of days past when you could pick up the phone and say, “Guess what?”!! It is not so much even the news, or words that were shared but the constant encouragement through each journey that would be shared. . No matter what, good or bad, always the same reaction and love felt. ..

Her name? Mother

 

She is still with me as i wear her hand written LOVE around my neck. She is still with me in my journey, as I remember those conversations . My heart smiles and I think of what Winnie the Pooh said, “how lucky I am to have had something that makes it so hard to say good bye”

As my art journey continues, she is there….

She learned to strive for Progress not Perfection

 

 

Progress not perfection

 

I wrote this a few weeks ago. I sat on it, deciding if I wanted to go public with my thoughts or not. But as I come across it this morning, I find my thoughts are still the same but circumstances have changed in the world for a brief moment of time. Harvey has devastated Texas and Louisiana. Many good people have come together to help each other, whatever their beliefs are. Now, Irma has pounded the south and is still on the direct path to many more. I see again, the good in people, as they offer help to those in need. That is what our country is all about. Where and when did it go in a different direction? When these storms are over, when lives are being put back together, I pray for these new opportunities to help and love our neighbors,  that they don`t get wasted. I pray that people will see others that are put on their hearts, and in their minds… and in their paths and that will become the new norm,  the new priority, to reach out to others in love.   I pray that these words that I wrote several weeks ago, become bad memories of the way it was….

 

I walk a very fine line these days. Be observant  and watch the news and get angry and stressed about it or just let it go and not worry about what is going on in the world. Sadly, I would much rather let it go, but it is reality, it is life, it is the life we are living and if we don`t pay attention, we have no idea how truly bad the world is getting. So, as I am waking up this morning, getting those last few moments of bed time before we actually get out of bed,  I turn the news on to get started for the day.

I watched a grown man weep openly because of something the president said or didn`t say, because of the amount of time it took him to say something or time it took him to say the words that this man had decided were the wrong words. I watched as young people with weapons rioted in the streets then climbed up on a public statue to tie a rope around it and pull it down. I listened as there was talk about doing this to all statues that represented the past in some way. I heard talk of changing names of parks and roads. I saw an article about a man that had turned himself into a woman and was “married” to a woman turned man, raising a child who is a boy by birth but they didn`t want to confine “HIM” to being a male, so they didn`t mention his gender and said that they would leave it to him, what he wanted to be. He was allowed and encouraged to wear girl clothes and play with dolls.

I watched as a young collage student told how she had interned for the summer in Washington and had the privilege to have her picture taken with the vice president and post it on her facebook page. I heard her speak of how she has been ridiculed  by friends and family who said hateful things to her about being in the picture with someone they did not approve of.

I listened to people blast whatever, whenever and however the president breathes.  He must be so weary of fighting each day against people who have declared war on him.  There is no light shining for people to see what good things are being done, because the war of evil and entitlement and free speech is so loud and dark.

I weeped silently in my heart for things of the past. The carefree youthfulness that is no longer for our children and grandchildren. The long summer days of playing in the yard and walking around the block, leaving doors unlocked for neighbors to come in.. Political correctness has replaced it all. Silence is not always GOLDEN.  Now is the time to boldly speak up and speak out. When did wrong become right? Seems it just happened over night but if we do not speak out, it will continue and slowly become the norm. If you are surprised or dont know what I am talking about, then you must be the one who decided to just let it go, and dont watch the news.. which is not a bad thing altogether…. just dont see the bigger picture of what is really happening, slowly, day by day.

What if people destroyed public property and there were consequences and the police took them to jail and they were held responsible for what they had done and possibly were arrested for destruction of public property?

What if freedom of speech was taken to the next level and people were hurt and properties set on fire, and police stepped in without being afraid of  being shot and being called names and started arresting people?

What if you threatened the President of the United States by mocking a beheading of him or assassination of him, or threatened to blow up the white house, you got arrested and charged? and it was a bad thing instead of people cheering and paying money to see it?

What if these people who are so unhappy living here in the US , go to any other country and disrespect it, wonder what would happen to them,? In some countries, I wonder if they would even live?

What if high paid athletes that use their platform to protest and disrespect our country by sitting down during the national anthem , what if they got  warned and then if they continued to be disrespected, they got  fired? If they were at a corporate company and just sat down when the CEO was talking to them because they did not like what he was saying, wonder what would happen.?  And what are they complaining and protesting for in this public manner after all, they are living the American dream, making tons of  money for doing what they love to do, because they were gifted with the ability to play sports. Looks like they might be a little humble and grateful for their life.?

What if movie stars and tv stars, would get paid according to who liked their way of thinking or their beliefs? Just be quiet already and act. we are tired of hearing your voice being so disrespectful and hateful of all who do not believe as you do. We are tired of having the next generation being exposed to the filth that comes out of your mouths if you encounter a person who doesnt think as you do.

What if history was just that and was taught as history. Parts of it were horrible. War is horrible, slavery was horrible, and thank goodness we have grown and changed but it is how our nation started. We cannot take it back. It cannot be changed but we can Learn from it, never go back there. You cannot tear everything down that reminds you of our history. All of us came from some kind of past years ago, good or bad, but we are not who we came from. We have a choice to be better and an opportunity to change the world for the better.

What is we strive for just plain progress… one day at a time and not for perfection. We will never be perfect. The world will never be perfect, but we have the ability to choose to be better . The president is not perfect nor have any before him been perfect. Good is happening in the background. Change is happening, slowly, but not being reported. Report it all… Good and bad and let people choose what they want to support.

I read a quote someone posted yesterday, “You have your way, I have my way, as for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist”  Friedrich Nietzsche     REALLY?!!!  maybe that is what is wrong with the world.  I believe there is one way. I believe that there is only one way. I believe the word of the Bible   John 14:6 says, “Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  So Mr. Friedrich, I beg to differ from you.

Quotes can be said by anyone. Quotes can be passed around as truth. Words can be typed in on social media to be spread by thousands in just a blink of an eye. Untruths, hate sentiments, vile language….. anyone can post and share…

What if we woke up and thought about what we could do to make someones day better instead of waking up with an agenda to be ugly and rude to anyone who doesnt believe as you do, and encourage others to do the same.

I saw where two collage groups with different beliefs had come together to protest the removing of the flags in memory of 911 on their campus where they had been for so many years. Why? because it might offend some poor soul who didnt agree with them.  They came together to do something for good with no violence, no riots… they were able to keep the memorial. A lesson for adults who have been elected to do a job, to at least strive for progress together. It takes courage to stand up and speak and sometimes it takes courage to just sit down and listen…..

What if elected officials actually did what they were elected for? and were held accountable if they didnt. What if they couldnt go on vacation until they did. What if they had to have the same health insurance as the rest of us do,? What is they had a set number of years in office? what if they had to retire at a certain age and leave office?

What if we realized we do not live in a perfect world and we should all work together to keep this great country of ours great….. what if we put our differences aside and worked for progress?

I can`t change others but I can choose how I react to the world…

Lord, help me to make a difference today, in someones life… help me not to judge others who think different from me, and help me to shine for you in my actions and to make a bit of progress in working towards my purpose in life.

Happy Wednesday,

Love, Jane

 

 

It takes an army

I have often heard those words.   Well, I am here to say how true that is. I am most thankful for my army of friends who were there for me recently…

The wedding was over 6 weeks ago. It is a wonderful memory NOW…. but during the planning and getting ready stages, there were several times in my mind that things could have gotten a little stressful….. if I had tried to resolve small problems on my own. Thankfully, that is when my army of friends showed up at just the right time… So, so many people to thank , who were there for us. So many friends helped throw parties and offered their time to help us, and loaned us things to use.  But here are a few highlighted members of my army…. and they probably don`t even really know what an important part they played.

I always think that no party of mine is complete without favors and this wedding was just a big party that we were planning for the reception..so, I was on the search for the just the right party favors.   I finally saw these really pretty cookies, all iced with the initials on top, and zeroed in on them.   I really wanted to duplicate them and have them in little clear bags, tied with a little saying on there.

In my mind, again, I thought it would not be that difficult after I found the right recipe.  I found the cutest little ridged cirlce cookie cutter at Michaels to use and I was ready to get started.

I made the shortbread cookie from a borrowed recipe from Pam,  and for three nights, I made a 5 dozen cookie recipe… Things were looking pretty good at this point and the cookies looked good so far.

 

My friend, Pam, had made these before and used fondant to place on top, so I wanted to do the same. thing as she told me about it…. I got the ingredients out,…. 16 oz bag of white mini marshmallows, 3 tablespoons of water, 2 pounds of powdered sugar and 1/2 cup crisco shortening.

My two grandsons were over that day, Heston, 9  and  Leif, 3, so they happily came in the kitchen to help with the fondant process.. LOL… they liked the part about the crisco. You dig your hand in the crisco can and coat your hands with it then knead the other ingredients together.. until it is all smooth..

 

We worked on that stuff for a long time and got it smoothed out pretty good , mixed and ready to roll out. But after adding the blue food coloring, it was a really dark blue and not the pretty aqua that I had wanted. and invisioned in my mind.!!. It was good practice but not what I could use…

I went back to get more food coloring and found a different blue. This time, I added just a drop and it went a long way and was the most beautiful Tiffany blue color. Yay!!

Pam insisted on coming to help me ice them.  She told me later, much later after the wedding that she just had felt so sorry for me doing all of them by myself, and wanted to help!!! I didnt know I was that pitiful!!  With both of us working, it went much easier and faster.   She got the fondant shapes wet after I cut them out and then stuck them to the top of the cookies. They looked so pretty at this point .

 

She had to leave for an appointment after we were finished with the fondant, but I assured her that I was ok and could easily put the W on the top of them….  We even tried a few W`s before she left to be sure I knew what I was doing…….Big mistake..

I tried to push the icing in little baggies and cut the tiny hole in it, but the letters looked horrible and were all different sizes.  After trying for a while , I just had to rub the messed up letters off the top of the cookies, so I would be able to correct the mistakes, I tried again.   I soon realized that I just couldn`t make it work to look good. Now, I could have easily, at this point, sat down and had a good cry, LOL… and I did consider that but then another friend came to mind. She had made cookies for Lara to use to ask her friends to be  one of her bridesmaids…

I took a chance that she was in town, and gave her a call. She was not only in town but eating at Chick Fil A, right around the corner from me and said she would be glad to stop by and get them and do the W for me.. Oh my, what a weight was lifted as I handed all those pans over to her to take home… I didn`t worry any more about them…

When I picked them up the next day, Kristen had put those W`s on there perfectly, each one looking exactly like the other.  Cookies done, but it took my army  of friends to make it work.

We tied those cookies up in a little plastic bag, and put them in this huge bucket with gold ribbon  and beads tied around the top of it. They were placed on the table by the door at the reception, for the guests to take one as they were leaving.. I almost forgot to take a picture of them, but got this one before they were all gone…

The week before the wedding, I had the programs all layed out and ready to print, with the sketched image of the church on the front of it. My daughter in law, Rebecca, had drawn  it for a wedding gift for Lara and Steven and had sent me the digital image to use. I got the paper ready, I thought I could print 50 at a time. I did the first 50, the fronts and as I was turning them over to put them back in to do the back, I noticed a smudge on the front of one. I got my glasses  on and looked closely only to find out the smudge was on all of them!!!!! Something was going on with my printer that was causing it to do this on each one. OH MY GOODNESS… less than a wekk to go, and I was trying to cross this off of my list to do that day.  I had planned to go see my friend, Patsy, who owns Village Press in Mountain Brook, after I had them printed that day. She had told me to bring them down and she would help me score and fold them . I had to call to tell her I couldn`t come that day, that I had to figure out what was going on with my printer.  She immediately told me to send her the digital file for them to print for me.    “No, I didn`t mean to have you do that, I will try to  figure it out and come Monday to fold them. with you.”   I will never forget what she said to me, “Don`t take away the joy it would give me to do this for you”.  With maybe a tear or two forming in my eyes, I told her that I would send it on to her. Wow…. it was mid afternoon when we talked. After dinner, she shows up at my door, with the programs in hand, all printed and folded and ready to take to the church the next week in a beautiful white wicker basket.

This is the beautiful drawing that Rebecca did and let me use for the program.

Thanks to my army of friends, Pam and Kristen who saved the cookie project…Patsy graciously solved the printing problem before it had time to get huge and cause stress in the Lazenby household.. caught just in time… She was a huge, huge part of my army who stepped up on my behalf, as was Rebecca, as she shared her drawing before she gave it to them, for us to use on the program.

I cannot close without including my sweet Tom. He usually is in the background, just encouraging and watching as we get things done, but willing to do whatever we ask.  The last two things that popped up that  week before the wedding….. were pretty large….

 

 

to be continued in part 2…

Thank you for reliving these special times with me..  it was truly magical to look back and see how it all came together…

Have a great week,

Love,

Jane

Hidden treasures

I think as I am getting older, my mind works a little different. With the mind reorganizing and adjusting to being slightly over middle age, it resonates  my soul. THINGS mean more to me.. Not STUFF, but THINGS… Stuff is just temporary items that have been collected over the years.. THINGS are words, stories, memories that you hear and collect and hold close to your heart.

Maybe time is the difference. When I was younger, my time was spent doing for the children. There wasn`t a whole lot of extra time.   It was a great season of growing and watching and learning life. with these little ones that He had given to us.   Now, with that busy season of them growing up done, with them all grown up and out on their own, this new season lends time for me to be intentional with friends. Time to do life with others, and to see how God works through these relationships. “Be still and listen”, that is what He tells us to do.  Be still and listen to Him, and be still and listen to those He places in our lives.. It is a great gift to give someone. The gift to listen. So many treasures are waiting, hidden in deep conversations if we take the time to listen.

I have watched and listened and learned from a dear friend recently, as she and her brothers have tried to close out the family home and all that it had meant to them over these many years.  It was out of town, so it was hard for them to coordinate schedules to get there often. But now, was the time. The pressure was on for them to get it done.

The home place and property was way overgrown with trees and grass and weeds, they even spotted some “critters” who had moved in… UGH… most of the visits resulted in a few tics who had found their way onto their bodies. The stories she told, were of hard days, going through all the rust and dirt,  the heat was unbearable, and the critters were a bit unsettling to know they were there, lurking under the rubble, but they persevered . They had to go through it all to be sure there was nothing of significant value left.. Old letters were found, car signs from her Daddys car business and some more treasures. One of the last pieces to the big puzzle is a great old, rusted safe. They have to get in there to be sure nothing is left. It is so cool to look at but heavy, and none of them need a big safe, so it will be left, opened and cleaned out, for the new owners.

As they remember  and talk about the  youthful days they spent there, one by one, things were found  that went with those memories. Her Daddy could build anything.   He had built them a zip line from the trees, that was still there. They had played in the creek in the afternoons and climbed on the big boulder rocks still there. The story that I loved the most was about the little chapel he had built in the woods for them to play in. It was still there, sort of…

The frame had slowly tilted from all the years left in the woods, and it wasn`t safe to go in, but as they opened the door to take a peak, the little cross he had built to go in it, was still there, hanging inside the door.

What a hidden treasure!!!  She lovingly removed the cross and took it to the car to save.  I just love this picture in my mind, of all the hours three young children would run through the woods, in and out of this sacred little chapel, playing on those carefree days.

The little chapel will soon be gone to new owners and probably taken down, but the cross which held all the memories would soon be in its new home with her to enjoy .

The pickers from Birmingham must have had the most glorious day as they were invited to meet down there and go through the rusted treasures to find things to repurpose and share with others. This stuff which was once collected with love from their Daddy, was now being shared. It had no place, no room in their lives but the THINGS that the “stuff” represented, the memories that were formed on this property, would always be alive in their hearts.

As we talked about the days they spent there, we both remembered those days back then when ” it ” happened. We both had been at one time or another, disrespectful or talked out of line and we did not forgot the consequences that would come. Oh the memories of picking out our own little switch from the yard, and running our hands down to remove the leaves that were budding and then handing them over to our Daddies. I don`t necessarily remember the switching, just the time that led up to it. From when I knew I had been caught doing something that I should have known better, to the time our eyes met and he told me to go outside to the bush and get that branch.   Oh, the anticipation for it to be over and not to ever do that again… I am sure in his mind, that was the punishment, the dread, the knowing, the fear of it all, instead of the light switching that came… Today, children would sue if that happened, but the character built by discipline back then, is what is lacking in the world today. Switchings may be old time, but discipline is needed so badly with our culture. My Daddy would not ever tolerate any disrespect toward my mother. No questions asked. We knew better…We would NEVER have thought we were entitled to anything, but rather it was something we had to work toward and earn.  So, yes, times have changed and not all for the better.. These sweet treasures of memories, molded us. They made us who we are. It is so fun to go back and see the things that made your friend, who she is today. Character building treasures..

Seasons come and go. Some are fun to remember, others we might not want to so much, but sharing these treasures of the past with friends and sharing the gift of listening is priceless. We were not created to do life alone… Thankful for those He places in my life to love on and to be with. Cherish those things that have meaning and let the STUFF go…

Have a wonderful Thursday!!

Love, Jane

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